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U.S. sanctions 17 in Khashoggi case; Saudi officials charge 11

By Clyde Hughes
Protesters demonstrate at the White House on October 19 to call attention to the abduction and death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4a1ddd34a378fb5011e702795ace57b7/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Protesters demonstrate at the White House on October 19 to call attention to the abduction and death of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury sanctioned 17 Saudi individuals Thursday for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, just hours after prosecutors in Riyadh indicted nearly a dozen suspects.

Among those targeted by the U.S. sanctions is senior government official Saud Al-Qahtani.

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The Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control said Al-Qahtani was part of the plot to kill Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last month. The Treasury said Al-Qahtani's subordinate Maher Mutreb was involved.

Other Saudi officials named in the sanctions are Salah Tubaigy; Meshal Albostani; Naif Alarifi; Mohammed Alzahrani; Mansour Abahussain; Khalid Alotaibi; Abdulaziz Alhawsawi; Waleed Alsehri; Thaar Alharbi; Fahad Albalawi; Badr Alotaibi; Mustafa Almadani; Saif Alqahtani and Turki Alsehri.

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U.S. officials said Gen. Mohammed Alotaibi, who oversaw the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, will also be sanctioned.

"The Saudi officials we are sanctioning were involved in the abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "These individuals who targeted and brutally killed a journalist who resided and worked in the United States must face consequences for their actions."

"The United States continues to diligently work to ascertain all of the facts and will hold accountable each of those we find responsible in order to achieve justice for Khashoggi's fiancée, children, and the family he leaves behind," he added. "The Government of Saudi Arabia must take appropriate steps to end any targeting of political dissidents or journalists."

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The sanctions will affect any property or interests of those named on the list. U.S. individuals are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them, including entities 50 percent or more owned by those on the list.

Earlier Thursday, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported 21 suspects have been identified and 11 indicted in the case. Five will face the death penalty.

Saudi Attorney General Saud al-Mojeb told reporters Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is not implicated in the crime, Al Jazeera reported.

Mojeb said five men ordered the drugging and dismemberment of Khashoggi on Oct. 2 after "talks with him failed" inside the Istanbul consulate.

The Saudi statement said its investigation was based on information from a Saudi-Turkish Joint team.

Saudi authorities have said Khashoggi, a regular critic of the Saudi government and contributor for The Washington Post, was killed when he visited the consulate for a document he needed for his planned wedding. His remains have not been recovered.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his government has an audio recording that contains sounds from Khashoggi's death. Those recordings have been heard by officials in the United States, Canada and other countries.

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Saudi officials initially said Khashoggi left the consulate, but later said he was killed by rogue operatives.

Riyadh has made a formal request for the Turkish government to hand over audio recordings related to the case and "sign a special cooperation mechanism" related to the investigation. They said they have not yet received a reply.

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